I invited Paul Morse, owner of Morse Constructions Inc., to write about his ideas about housing in our area over the next generation. As a builder, he is seeing a change in the kinds of changes people are making to their houses. Do you think he is spotting a trend?
Multi-generational housing is hot. You’ve probably seen the statistics – between 2000 and 2009, multi-generational households increased by 30 percent. Since then, the percentage has been on the rise as adult children move home in a tough job market and longer life spans increase the number of elderly parents living with children. As long as this trend holds, homes that can be adapted for multi-family living will be particularly valuable properties. Even better, homes that have already been renovated to provide private, yet connected, living spaces will have selling features that will appeal to a growing market.
The homes that are best suited for multi-generational living offer:
Privacy with Proximity – Successful multi-generational living requires a fine balance between private and communal spaces. Separate entrances, morning bars or kitchenettes in bedroom suites, and sitting rooms provide much-needed privacy. A large, open kitchen/eating/living area is ideal when the family comes together.
Flexible Spaces – Flexible spaces can be easily transformed to function for different purposes and ages. For example, an underused living room and sunroom may transition into a home office, then an in-law suite, then a space for an adult child who moves home, then an entertainment area.
Universal Design -- Universal design works hand-in-hand with flexible spaces to create environments that are usable by all people. Hallways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheel chair and zero entry thresholds are classic examples of universal design features.
I’m a builder, not a real estate agent, but if I were selling a property that is great for multi-generations, I’d emphasize flexibility. I’d style rooms to reflect different uses by different ages of people. On the other hand, if a property has clearly been adapted to accommodate multi-generations, you might not want to pigeon hole the property for just the multi-generational housing market. In that case, consider playing up how the space can be repurposed in different ways.
We’re definitely seeing more interest in multi-generational housing in home renovations. Are you seeing it in the Boston area real estate market?
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